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Ethnography : researching a divided society from a ́biased́ perspective

Author: Elena Bergia
Publisher: London : SAGE Publications Ltd, 2019.
Series: SAGE Research Methods. Cases.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : English
Summary:
When I moved to Belfast to start my PhD, I had a fairly clear idea of how my research would develop. I wanted to look at the impact of the Northern Ireland conflict on the lives and identities of women living in Catholic working-class areas. My research project, while motivated by a long-standing academic interest in Northern Ireland, also stemmed from a deep-seated emotional and political involvement with the  Read more...
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Details

Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Elena Bergia
ISBN: 9781526478023 1526478021
OCLC Number: 1084505942
Description: 1 online resource.
Series Title: SAGE Research Methods. Cases.
Responsibility: Elena Bergia.

Abstract:

When I moved to Belfast to start my PhD, I had a fairly clear idea of how my research would develop. I wanted to look at the impact of the Northern Ireland conflict on the lives and identities of women living in Catholic working-class areas. My research project, while motivated by a long-standing academic interest in Northern Ireland, also stemmed from a deep-seated emotional and political involvement with the province, and particularly with West Belfast. My fascination with Northern Ireland had in fact started several years earlier, and had been reinforced by frequent visits. I felt a strong political affinity with the ideology supported by most West Belfast residents, namely Irish republicanism. Before starting my PhD, this sympathy constituted a background assumption: something that I knew existed, but did not examine or question. It was the fieldwork itself that made me aware of the numerous assumptions, values, and views, that had until then existed only in the back of my mind. In this case study, I examine the impact of my political views, and of my background, on my research. I entered the field full of background assumptions. I was biased in favor of one side of the political conflict in Northern Ireland. In the end, I did not necessarily reject my biases, but I was able to evaluate their impact on my work. Ultimately, the fieldwork taught me that biases are not necessarily an obstacle to honest and truthful social science research: if examined, they can even be an asset.

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